Do you believe that being an expat is hard? Yes, it is but only in the beginning. After some time you find your way around, get used to people from other culture, their habits and preferences, start learning a local language, and find your favorite places. However, all this seems not to be true about Prague. Prague is one of these rare places to which one does not have to get used to but just simply falls in love with it.
This cradle of culture and history in the heart of Europe cannot leave anyone indifferent and that is why every year the number of tourists and expats keeps growing. With the increase of tourism, foreign students and workers, more and more facilities and activities become foreigner-friendly. So now foreigners don’t really have to learn Czech they can survive with English ( and, to be honest ,for some it is a great relieve because Czech is not such an easy language) but knowing a couple of phrases is always a sign of respect to another culture and Czechs value it a lot.
So, Where to begin?
All expats after coming to Prague start their assimilation processes from the same point. They go to Expats’
website where they can find answers to all their questions, find a room or flat, job, cafes, restaurants, bars, or even a friend or partner.
The first “touristic” phase starts with getting to know the city by foot. There are plenty of companies offering Free Walking Tours in Prague, which is the fastest way to explore the new place. But one cannot discover the real Prague in just 2,5 hours of the excursion. No. It takes time, a lot of time, to walk and remember every small cobbled street around the Old-town square, every variegated title-roofed house, sublime and unpretentious monuments such as one at Letna park, numerous comfy and neat cafes, and of course the famous Prague’s spires. Hundreds of churche spires reaching for the sky. Even after spending almost two years in this relatively small city, I still, from time to time, discover a new place for myself.
The second phase is to try the local food. Czech food is unbelievably tasty but I need to warn you it is fat. One of the most famous Czech traditional dishes is goulash. Goulash is a soup or stew of meat with vegetables seasoned with paprika. It is served in bread or with famous Czech soft and fine dumplings on the side. Although goulash is known to be a Hungarian dish but Czechs are so sensitive about it and always try to prove that their way of making goulash is the most delicious one. Among other traditional dishes duck with crispy crust or the succulent roasted pork knee with sauerkraut and dumplings on the side s
tand out. Also don’t forget about Trendelik the famous sweet delicious dough with Nutella or jam inside. And the beer, of course. Czech Republic ranks first country in the world by annual per capita beer consumption. No further comments needed.
Exploring nightlife is the next step of getting to know the city and its inhabitants. What is great about Prague that entry to most clubs is free and no dress code is needed. In addition, prices of drinks are pleasant for the eye: a glass of beer will cost you around 50 kr-(2 euro) and a classic long -150 kr- (5 euro) in the center but the prices are cheaper in
Wanna feel like a local ASAP?
Yes. You got me right. One can behave like a local even without proper knowledge of the local language, which will come along later with practice.
Now it’s time to stop eating traditional Czech food all day long. Firstly, one cannot hide the consequences of all eaten calories forever. Secondly, young Czechs prefer to lead a healthy life style, which means eating healthy and doing all kinds of sports. From March to late October, the picturesq
ue embankments of Vltava River at any time of the day are full of runners and almost in every district of Prague there is at least one gym.
To get to know the culture from the inside is easier if you know some locals. There are lots of opportunities and places to meet them such as in a nightclub or in a gym because Czechs are quite responsive and most of them speak English, sometimes German and Russian. But if neither nightclub nor gym works then there is a definite place to meet some locals and that is at the language exchange meetings such as Speak Easy where people divided into groups practice various languages together.
Another thing one has to get used to in Prague is the working regime. Czechs start their day very early. Usually, while many youngsters are coming back home from a great party around 6-7 AM diligent Czech workers are in a rush to work. Most shops open around 6 or 7 AM. By 9 o’clock, all big firms and offices open their doors for customers. So if you intend to become local get ready to wake up at the first light of a day, which is tremendously hard for the first couple of months. However, the sooner you begin to work the sooner you are done, so by 5-6PM most Czechs are chilling in a nearby pub drinking beer and having a laugh with the colleges.
Finally yet importantly, one has to get used to trams. Trams are the most convenient but the most dangerous means of transport in Prague. They are the savers of the time and killers of your nerves and they are unstoppable. There are practically no rules in relationships between trams and pedestrians apart from one firm silent rule: the tram drivers are always right. If one manages to get used to all that trams stealing up from the corners and to maneuver in between the jungle of steel and glass than one can proudly call himself a local.